Research revealed eight out of ten farmers in the region have been ‘extremely affected’ by the disease compared with six out of ten nationwide.
Evidence of the knock-on effect of the disease could be seen as 55% of tourism-related shops and 36% of catering businesses said they were hit, against 42% and 21% in the rest of the country.
Peter Armitage, president of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants said: ‘It will take a long period of time to get back to where we were before.’
To ensure all sectors hit by the disease are adequately aided, the ICAEW is recommending the government take a series of measures, including the creation of a ‘hardship fund’.
Armitage explained: ‘We’re not asking government to write out a blank cheque. We would like it to set up eligibility criteria, in consultation with farmers and the rural business community.’
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